Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Collection Spotlight // Mix + Match

The Mix + Match collection is something I've had in my head for ages now... although the idea kept changing and growing as these things do! Originally I just wanted to create an alphabet collection with colourful letters but after doodling water colour patterns for months the two finally came together into this fun new range! I love that this collection gives everyone the chance to mix and match colours and patterns to make something perfect for them. For us it's really exciting to see what combo you've come up with when the order comes in! You can mix and match 8 patterns with 5 colours meaning there's a massive 40 designs for your personalised mug, print or mirror. 

After playing with shapes and colours we came up with simple shaped glitter earrings which are a lovely little accessory. At the moment these are just available in rainbow glitter but I do think some other colours may have to join them soon.

I'd love to hear what you think of the new collection! You can see all the new goodies here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Catch Up // March Meet the Maker

In case you missed it March Meet the Maker was a fab Instagram challenge set by the lovely Joanne Hawker. Each day for the whole of March there was a prompt related to running a creative business. The idea was that by sharing all these images and captions our Instagram feeds would tell the story behind our businesses. Prompts ranged from 'tools' and 'raw materials' to 'goals', 'creative friends' and 'packaging'. Although it was challenging it was also a really great way to network with other creatives, I've found so many colourful accounts to follow! If you aren't following us already you can find us on Instagram here

You can still check it out and see posts from hundreds of makers by searching #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram or clicking here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Getting Organised // Social Media

Motivational Monday
Recently I've been struggling to feel motivated with social media. Between Facebook ads becoming even more unaffordable and Instagram announcing it's no longer going to have a chronological feed it feels like fighting a losing battle. Trying to develop content with the thought that nobody will actually see it definitely makes it difficult to find time to dedicate every day.

We decided this needed to stop as it meant our marketing was becoming a stress and a chore. I wanted to work on a strategy which meant there's not as much last minute pressure, especially on days where I have no clue what to share then end up posting nothing and feeling guilty. Consistency and content are the keywords that popped up in all of the research I did on strategy. Next up, most of the advice on 'what to post' is to try and stick to one third selling to two thirds behind the scenes (story telling, design process, personality etc). If you've been taking part in Joanne Hawker's #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram then these are the type of non selling posts you might want to share. Do try to consider your own target customers and what they'd like to see most.

Thinking about what you want to post is one thing but actually finding the time to do it is another. Thankfully, having a planner means you can be more consistent and schedule posts ahead of time, then add more daily updates when it feels natural! 
Free Social Media Planner Download. Stock Photography available at Lifestyle Photo Studio
I've created two versions of our planner which you can download for free below. If you do use either I'd love to see so please do tag us in any pics! The first is a blank canvas for you to develop your strategy from scratch, perfect if you're already posting regularly but want to keep it organised. The second is what I've worked on for myself, it's also available as a Photoshop doc here so you can break it down to suit you but I'll explain how I'm using it first.

- Plan for week ahead on a Sunday
- Schedule archive blog posts for Twitter each day
- Share motivational quotes on Monday (like one at the top of this blog)
- Create themed Treasury for Tuesday (tag other businesses)
- Write blog for Wednesday (keep blog calendar/ideas in notebook)
- Share past images for Throwback Thursday 
- Make collage of week highlights for Friday catch up
- Schedule a product each day 
- Add additional daily updates/product launches if working on something shareable

If all goes to plan then on Sundays I'll make myself a big cuppa and sit down with my planner and a notebook to prepare for the week ahead. With the help of scheduled posts (I'm using Hootsuite for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) I can create most of my content in a couple of hours. This means I can get on with designing and making during the week and only post extras when I have something I want to share rather than the usual feeling of need to share. There's no pressure as if I don't have time to post then my scheduled items will still pop up themselves, yay!

This has turned out to be a rather chunky blog post, I hope you find it useful anyway. If you'd like to download our other free planners check them out here. Let me know if you'd like to see any other downloads and printables on the blog by leaving me a comment.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Getting Organised // Spring

Last year we wrote a series of Getting Organised posts in January (which included free planner downloads). These were some of our most popular posts of all time and I've been meaning to add more to the series but not had a chance until now!

This year we've felt a bit underprepared as starting the year with a trade show meant our initial focus was short term. Now we're taking the time to reflect and plan for the future as we usually would in January. To keep us inspired we've been using Leonie Dawson's fabulous workbook and wall planner, reading How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott and learning from the very informative Girls Mean Business.

We've also been working through the tasks we all avoid such as inbox and computer clear outs. It's so tempting to forget about these and just deal with physical mess. It's far too easy to unintentionally create a maze of folders filled with badly named files until one day you can't find something important which you're 100% certain you saved... somewhere.

If this sounds like you then we've got a handy desktop organiser download. This is a slightly simplified version of the one I created for us, I hope you find it helpful! 
You can download the desktop planner here or below. If you'd like to see more free downloads leave us a comment to let us know!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Photo a Day // February Catch Up

A little later than planned but here's my Photo a Day catch up from February! It was a busy month with a lot of time spent with friends and family, I celebrated my 24th Birthday and we did some wedding planning (and won our wedding cake!). 

I missed a few days of prompts in February and was originally feeling really guilty about it so had planned to take the missing photos in March, hence why I'm late with this post. I realised I was being daft about it as even though I missed a few days I didn't give up! The important thing is that I enjoy taking photos and don't let this become a chore on the to do list. So if some days life gets in the way, or I forget to take my camera out, that's just the way it is!

The Pinterest board below links to the photos with their prompts, dates and captions if you want to see more. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

A Million Uses for Mugs # 1

For the first in our new series "A Million Uses for Mugs" we thought it was perfect timing for a Mother's Day idea! What better treat for Mum than a lie in followed by breakfast in bed? How about making her tea in a mug which she can treasure forever! Finish with a ribbon, some chocolates and some flowers to make it extra special.

"10 Things I Love About Mum" mug is a new edition to our 10 Things collection - pink, lilac, blue and mint with cute floral numbers. You can choose the title and totally personalise the list of things you love about Mum. Get the kids involved for a list full of love and giggles!

If you'd like to order in time for Mother's Day (Sunday 6th March) the last day for guaranteed delivery is 3rd March. These mugs are currently £11.50 (usually £13.50) and include gift wrapping - we can even post direct to the recipient with a note from you for no extra cost. [Shop Here]

We'd better get brainstorming some other uses for mugs! Have you got any ideas for us to feature?

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Stockist Spotlight // The Treasured

Laura wrapping orders
The Treasured became a JillyJilly stockist late last year. Today on the blog we get to know the lovely Laura who runs the cute online shop!

Can you tell us the story behind The Treasured?
I’ve always loved supporting small creative businesses – they each offer something unique and beautiful – but I began to struggle to find what I was after on sites such as Etsy. They’ve got so big now and when I did finally find what I was after the multiple postage costs often put me off. 

I wanted to offer online shoppers handpicked products that were guaranteed to be beautiful and high quality – things to be treasured but that wouldn’t break the bank. Once I realised that was my main aim, the name ‘The Treasured’ wasn’t far behind…

What sort of goodies might customers expect to find in your shop?
The Treasured sells gifts, homeware, stationery, jewellery, wall art and more. Every product is from a British designer/maker that I’ve chosen for their loveliness – in terms of their products and their personalities.

What are your current favourite products you sell?
It’s so hard to choose but, JillyJilly products aside, my top three at the moment are the Pygmy Cloud desk tidy, the A – Z of Unicorns colouring book by Neon Magpie and The Make Arcade’s ‘More Gin Please’ cross stitch kit.

What do you like best about running The Treasured?
I love introducing people to brand’s they might not have discovered otherwise, and finding those brands is definitely my favourite thing. 

Do you have any advice for someone starting an online shop?
Your investment isn’t just in money but in time too. You need a good dollop of patience; it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll become a success overnight. Do your research, make a plan and then give it a try…

The Treasured is now four months old and it has a long way to go! It is incredibly rewarding though - every time someone buys something I do a little dance. 

Finally, which is your favourite JillyJilly product and why?
The ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Bake’ quote mug. It is incredibly cute and calls to my love of cake!

Thank you Laura! You can pop over to the Treasured shop here: and say hi over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.